I’ve not been on social media this weekend. It’s not because I quit the popular social platforms as I did in June 2020. I have made an intentional effort to spend more time in the present. During the week, I think about all the things I need or want to do at the weekend, only to find I run out of time. I completed the usual father duties I repeated each weekend, but I had time to organise the area of my life that needed my attention – my home! As I reflect on what I have achieved over the two days, I think I might make the weekend digital detox routine.
What did I DO?
I could say I did lots of crazy things to my iPhone to make it less distracting but to be honest, I have already done that. In a recent post about iOS 16 being a blessing, I refined what I was allowed use on my phone, and social media apps were one of the first applications to come off my iPhone.
If any significant changes were made, I would say it was turning off all notifications on my iPad because I do have social media apps on there. I also tried not to check social media through my desktop web browser.
There was one exception to the social media free weekend – I replied to a few comments on a YouTube video I had posted recently. I don’t see my YouTube channel as social media because I have just started the channel, so I don’t get the same interaction compared to other people out there (I appreciate everyone that does get in touch).
The Minimalist bit
I thought it would be an excellent time to remove unwanted possessions from my home as I no longer find value in them. These items had their purpose at the time of purchase. However, our needs change, and this is OK. I am not a consumerist and don’t buy things for the sake of buying something. Unfortunately, I have moments of impulse where I am trying to buy a better version of myself, as Anthony Ongaro in Break the Twitch would say.
I am sure we all have those moments where we want to improve ourselves. You might have had moments where you subscribe to that service because it will improve your health or productivity. Do you remember the random purchase to achieve that thing you wanted to accomplish for your New Year’s resolution? We all get those twitches. Two things to remember about breaking the twitch – 1) We all get those moments of impulse, and 2) being able to identify your impulsive actions is a powerful thing.
KEEP, DONATE, DISCARD, Repeat
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of your possessions, it might be time to try a minimalist weekend. It doesn’t make you a bad person for having many possessions. We all have our own needs. Too many possessions can weigh us down, though. Minimalism appears to be more and more popular these days (or what my search algorithm wants me to believe), as it helps declutter your life and gives you more space to focus on the things that truly matter. With a minimalist weekend, you can let go of some of your possessions and make room for a more organised, minimalistic lifestyle.
To get started, set aside one weekend with no commitments so you can focus on your minimalist goals. Realistically, it will take more than one weekend to sort through your stuff. To begin, make a list of all your possessions, and separate them into three categories: the keep pile, the donate pile, and the discard pile. Set aside the keep pile and store them away in an organised manner, so they don’t interfere with the next steps. I found arranging my piles of stuff by room, starting with the space I spent the most time in, helped me feel like I was making progress. Others might want to start with their bedroom to experience a calm, clearer environment from the beginning of their journey.
Tips for your Keep pile
- Organise items in your keep pile into different categories such as clothing, appliances, furniture, books, etc.
- Take a critical look at each item and ask yourself if it brings value to your life and serves a purpose. Some things may be season-specific, so don’t throw away something you will need in months to come.
- Ask yourself whether you have used the item in the past year. If not, it might be time to let go of it. Do not feel bad for not needing the item. Our lives change, and so do our needs.
- Set specific spaces for each type of item so you can easily access them when needed. Items mustn’t be left around in areas where they are not needed.
Now it’s time to eliminate the items in the donation and discard piles. The donate pile should include items that are still usable but that you don’t need or want any longer. These items can be donated to charities or thrift stores. The discard pile should include items that are no longer usable because they are broken or past their usefulness. These items can be thrown away, recycled, or upcycled. Try not to get sentimental about your possessions because you will never let go of them.
Tips for your Donate pile
- Ask yourself if the item is still usable and in good condition.
- Consider donating items to charities or thrift stores that need them. I personally donate to a mix of children, mental health and cancer charities. There may be local community events that need financial support through donations.
- If it is not usable, you could consider upcycling the item and donating it to an organisation that can make use of it. Do you have a local school or community centre that could make use of it?
- Could a friend or family member benefit from the item? Some people appreciate the kind gestures of others. Even if you know you could get money selling the item, it is good to give it to those who you know would get great use out of the item.
Tips for your Discard pile
- Separate items that are not usable and cannot be donated.
- Look online for anyone who would make use of the item, or you could sell it. Others may want your stuff, even if it is in bad shape.
- Take photos! It sounds odd but taking photos of sentimental items releases the need to keep the original items. You could journal your experience with the item, so you can relive those experiences later down the road. Others (The Minimalists) have Photo-Scanning parties.
- Carefully and safely discard items that are unusable.
- Recycle items that can be recycled. It is important to make sure recycling is done correctly. Some areas may have specialist centres that dispose of your items in the safest and most environmentally friendly way possible.
Now that you’ve decluttered your home, it’s time to turn your attention to digital minimalism. Go through your computer, phone and tablet and delete any unneeded files or programs (always start with the download folder). Make sure to back up any important files you want to keep. Organising your digital documents into categories is also a good idea for more straightforward navigation. I’m sure I will write more about the digital minimalism approaches later, but for now, I recommend the PARA method to organise your files.
Once you’ve decluttered your physical and digital belongings, it’s time to focus on the things that matter most. Take some time for relaxation, self-care, and meaningful conversations. Spend time reading a book, watching a movie, or enjoying the outside weather. A minimalist weekend is an excellent opportunity to declutter your life and make space for the things that bring you joy. I know it was a novelty to experience a social media-free weekend. However, I felt relaxed and chilled out, knowing I had achieved everything on my Todoist job list.
My blog was inspired by a reading reminder in Evernote of The Minimalists’ 5 decluttering tips. I recommend you check it out. You can also subscribe to their free 16 Rules to Living with Less. As Joshua Fields Milburn said, these are tools, not rules. He gave the ebook that title because people appear to like rules.